As we talked with the person sitting at the table next to us at lunch, the conversation drifted to how difficult it is to take an innovative idea and make it real in a multinational corporation. I was especially interested in his view. He was the head of innovation for a large and prestigious company. He has a worldwide reputation and was a keynote speaker at over fifty conferences last year. I wondered if he had a view.
“Making innovation real is a b*&^%. It is a lot more difficult than anyone realizes. It takes hard work and a willingness to be pushy and relentless.”
The quiet candor was something I did not expect. It felt genuine. It also felt as if there were stories behind the answer. As I probed with genuine curiosity, I realized that this was something I should do on another day. Today was a day to talk of innovation knowing that there was much that we agreed on behind the scenes.
I walk away from lunch several reminders have stayed with me.
Life’s battle has many fronts. In each, it is a battle. Doing good, acting on truth, and trying to help an organization be better than it is rarely easy. It is a battle. Those that enter the forum should come with courage, trusted friends and allies, and the willingness to fight for the goal.
While the casual observer may not know what it took to make something successful, those in the fray will know and a few will remember. The reality of sacrifice made for the greater good is an old one, with a psalmist recording that the efforts of one “counted to his credit; his descendants will never forget it.” (Psalm 106.31)
It is in through sacrifice of a few that many will benefit. One should never imagine that there will be a party. At best the recognition will be fleeting and temporary. In the end, a few will remember.
Being asked to make a difference is a call to battle. It is a calling worthy of gods.